Tag Archives: Lori Lapin Jones

Peninsula Hospital to close


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Officials plan to pull the plug on Peninsula Hospital.

The floundering Far Rockaway facility is required to submit a closure plan to the state’s Department of Health (DOH), said Michael Moran, a spokesperson for the agency.

News of the termination came after a long series of unshakable bankruptcy battles and instability at the hospital.

Failed state health inspections found the hospital’s lab to be “a danger and threat” to patients on February 23, which forced the hospital to temporarily halt its emergency care services and stop admitting new patients.

Peninsula then had to lay off over 240 employees this month in order to conserve cash while the hospital was “on diversion,” according to officials.

A court-ordered bankruptcy trustee — Long Island attorney Lori Lapin Jones — was recently appointed to take over all operations at Peninsula. She determined on March 26, according to bankruptcy court files, that revival was not in the cards for Peninsula.

The sudden news has even thrown Borough President Helen Marshall off guard.

“I was assured in writing [on] March 12 that [State Commissioner of Health] Nirav Shah’s office was working closely with Peninsula Hospital to provide support to their efforts to come back into compliance. That makes [this] announcement particularly bewildering,” she said. “There is a medical crisis in Rockaway. One hospital is now responsible for the care of more than 100,000 residents living on a peninsula that has limited access and egress options.”

Marshall said her office commissioned a study in 2006, finding the healthcare delivery system in Queens not to be sustainable in its current state. She said she recommended there should be “one new comprehensive hospital built in the Rockaways.”

“No one listened,” Marshall said. “We now have a situation where reports have surfaced that St. John’s Hospital is turning people away, while nearby Peninsula Hospital is laying off approximately 1,000 individuals.”

St. John’s Episcopal Hospital has been absorbing the brunt of Peninsula’s patient since the lab shut down last month.

According to CEO Nelson Toebbe, the hospital “stands ready to meet the healthcare needs of the community.”

Toebbe said St. John’s is currently waiting for state approval for plans to expand its emergency room, ambulatory care, surgery, intensive care and in-patient facilities.

“Assuming state approval is granted quickly, those steps should be complete in the coming months,” he said. “We have been working diligently with the DOH to obtain approvals for expanded capacity within our facilities, since talks of the potential Peninsula Hospital Center closure began months ago. We will move as fast as possible subject to required reviews and access to capital.”

DOH officials said the agency would monitor operations at Peninsula to ensure an orderly closure, while working with other providers to make sure patients have access to services that will be closing and making sure medical records are transferred to appropriate providers upon the request of patients.

Moran said there is no time frame yet as to when Peninsula’s doors will close for good.

“The hospital needs to put together and file a closure plan,” he said. “We will have to wait to see that.”

Peninsula Hospital declined to comment.

Trustee named, Peninsula expects to exit bankruptcy


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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The court-ordered bankruptcy trustee appointed to take over all operations at Peninsula Hospital has been named, federal officials said.

Lori Lapin Jones — a Long Island bankruptcy law attorney — was chosen by the U.S. Trustee’s office, an agency under the U.S. Department of Justice, to head the embattled Far Rockaway facility.

“The trustee who was selected was a very good choice. She’s an extraordinarily competent bankruptcy attorney who has tremendous experience serving as a trustee,” said Howard Fensterman, Peninsula’s former attorney, who represented the hospital before the court-mandated change. “I look forward to her getting the hospital back open and leading the hospital out of bankruptcy.”

Fensterman said hospital officials had consented to the court-ordered change, and he said he still expects Peninsula to exit bankruptcy in less than 60 days.

Jones currently serves as a Chapter 7 trustee on the panel of Trustees for the Eastern District of New York and as a court-appointed mediator in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

She started her own Great Neck-based law firm — Lori Lapin Jones PLLC — in 2005, representing a wide variety of parties in out-of-court restructurings and in large and small Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 cases in courts around the country.

In 2009, she received the Long Island Business News’ award for being one of the top 50 most influential women in business.

These credentials, Fensterman said, will help her push the hospital toward recovery.

Two weeks ago, roughly 240 employees at Peninsula were temporarily laid off, officials said. The sudden terminations were instituted short-term, they said, in order to conserve cash while the hospital is “on diversion.”

Peninsula was also forced to halt its emergency care services for a period of 30 days after failed state health inspections found the hospital’s lab to be “a danger and threat” to patients on February 23.

A second state mandate also ordered the hospital to stop admitting new patients, cancel all surgeries and procedures and suspend any activities that depend upon laboratory services while a plan to transfer inpatients to other facilities was developed.

Peninsula Hospital declined to comment in regards to the hospital’s new overseer.